Udupi District Consumer Commission orders SBI to Compensate Aggrieved Consumer

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Udupi District Consumer Commission orders SBI to Compensate Aggrieved Consumer

Udupi: In a recent judgment, the Udupi District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, ordered the State Bank of India to pay a total sum of Rs.6,00,010/- to Harish Gudigar, a wood sculptor from Uppuru. While he was working as a Graphic Designer in Bangalore, he had an SB account at the Malleshwaram branch of the State Bank of India. Whenever he had some savings, he used to keep in fixed deposits in the same branch. He had a plan of expanding his business and constructing a house in his native place when he would have sufficient amount in his bank account.

Addressing the media persons, the President of Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag, said, “Harish Gudigar had resigned his job in Bangalore in February 2019 and returned to his native place in Uppuru. He transferred his Saving Bank account and Fixed Deposits to the SBI branch in Santhekatte. He then opened a shop dealing in handicrafts in Udupi. Within a short time, the whole country was affected by the Corona pandemic and as a result, he had to close his shop and had to struggle for his livelihood.

On 23 August 2019 at about 8:19 am, Harish received a message on his mobile from the bank. The message read as “08:19: Thx for INB txn of Rs 500000.00 frm A/c X8985 to PARNAV ONL…Ref#IGAGVTYJC8. Harish could not understand the message. Within few minutes, he received another message which read “Thx for INB txn of Rs 50010.0 frm A/c X8985 to PARNAV ONL…Ref#IGAGVUAEC3”, Harish was puzzled as to who was sending the messages, from where and why? Of late, he had never made a transaction nor had given any cheque. Moreover, in his account, there was no such amount as mentioned in the messages as he had only a few hundred Rupees in his account. After reading the messages he thought that someone, must be joking with him.

In order to check the authenticity of this transaction, he opened his Laptop and was astonished to find three bank transaction entries recorded within a few minutes;

The first transaction was related to the transfer of Rs.5,00,000/- from Harish’s Fixed Deposit accounts to his SB account.

In the second transaction, again Rs.50,010 was transferred from another Fixed deposit account of Harish to his SB account.

The third transaction affected a transfer of all the money to the tune of Rs.5,50,010 to an SB account of an unknown person in the Delhi branch of SBI. There was only Rs.6360 left in Harish’s SB account. Harish immediately transferred the same to his SB account in HDFC Bank wherein he could save that amount.

Immediately, Harish rushed to the SBI branch of Santhekatte and explained the incident to the Manager. Having perused the concerned documents, the Manager contacted the Delhi branch and could get the money blocked in the transferee’s account. He assured Harish – “your money has not gone anywhere. It is safe in our Delhi Branch and will be remitted to your account in a couple of days”.

However, the Manager failed to explain how an off-line fixed deposit can be transferred through an online transaction. He suggested Harish to file a complaint with the cybercrime police. Accordingly, Harish filed a complaint in the Udupi cyber police station. The Cyber Police submitted an FIR to the Court at Udupi (FIR No.0081/2019 dated 25.09.19) and got the matter published in local dailies. Probably, this must have been the first incident of online transfer of money from off-line FD to an unrelated SB account. He was promised that his money would be remitted within 48 hours.

Even after two days, when money was not remitted to his account, Harish approached the branch. His repeated inquiries and a complaint to Pragna Kamath, a senior official of SBI did not fetch any positive results. Every official repeatedly promised him that “Your money is safe”, but nobody informed him when the money would be remitted to his account.

After five months of the incident, Harish approached Udupi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission with the help of the Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi. After sixteen months of deliberations, the Commission has pronounced the judgment and has ordered the State Bank of India to pay the disputed amount Rs.5,50,010/- along with the 10% interest to Harish Gudigar. It has also sanctioned Rs.50,000/- as compensation and Rs.10,000/- towards the cost of litigation.

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